Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Genesis 6, 5-8; 7,1-5.10

Yahweh saw that human wickedness was great on earth and that human hearts contrived nothing but wicked schemes all day long.

Yahweh regretted having made human beings on earth and was grieved at heart.

And Yahweh said, 'I shall rid the surface of the earth of the human beings whom I created -- human and animal, the creeping things and the birds of heaven -- for I regret having made them.'

But Noah won Yahweh's favour.

Yahweh said to Noah, 'Go aboard the ark, you and all your household, for you alone of your contemporaries do I see before me as an upright man.

Of every clean animal you must take seven pairs, a male and its female; of the unclean animals you must take one pair, a male and its female

(and of the birds of heaven, seven pairs, a male and its female), to preserve their species throughout the earth.

For in seven days' time I shall make it rain on earth for forty days and forty nights, and I shall wipe every creature I have made off the face of the earth.'

Noah did exactly as Yahweh commanded him.

Seven days later the waters of the flood appeared on earth.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Biblical authors are clear on the fact that evil is not a work of God, but of human beings. It is the depth of the human heart, in fact, that is tied up with feelings of hate, revenge and pride. This is evident from the first chapters of Genesis—human history is marked by violence that puts one against the other. Every facet of life is poisoned by the maleficence of people, so much so that God “repented having made man on earth and he was pained in his heart.” The same heart of the Creator is broken by the spreading of violence among human beings and peoples. Violence renders living together impossible and pushes creation itself to regress into primordial chaos. This is what the flood is. It is not a punishment by God, but the consequence of human violence that makes everything return to chaos as was the world at the beginning of creation. We are obviously dealing with an image that transmits a strong and fresh message. We think especially of the wars and their consequences, of the violence done to creation itself and to human nature and of its consequences; of destruction, of pollution, of the abuse of children and elderly. This page of Scriptures lays out some aspects of the current condition of the world where violence by now seems a norm of life: it seems that more faith is put in the law of force to resolve conflicts and to walk towards peace than in encounter and dialogue. Believers, as it was for Noah, are called to walk with God and to listen to God to be able to conquer evil and distance themselves from destructive violence. Every disciple, every small Christian community, is called to be like an ark in the storm of the sea of the world, to offer shelter and salvation to all, in particular to the weak and poor, who ask for consolation and peace. It is the job of believers and still more of Christians: to offer shelter from violence, salvation from the chaos of enmity and destruction. The ark constitutes again the unity for which God created man and woman, the unity of humankind of which the Church is sacrament and instrument, like the Second Vatican council says in Lumen Gentium. If we want life to be serene for everyone we do not have any other choice but to commit ourselves to the reconstruction of this unity for which Jesus himself prayed before being put to death (see Jn 17).